Something about Cincou di Maiou (Cinco de Mayo)

Posted on mayo 5, 2014


TO ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE US (AND PRETTY MUCH EVERY AMERICAN OUT THERE): Despite what Hollywood and some other media have told you over the years, today we don’t celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, neither is this the most important national holiday. It’s not even one of the top celebrations in Mexico. Actually, most people work today, including banks, schools, public services, and the financial system. No big celebration is done, in fact, there’s pretty much NO celebration at all.

Let’s go through some history. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration held on May 5. It is mostly celebrated in the United States (when it comes to Mexico, it is only celebrated in the state of Puebla, where the actual battle that led to the holiday took place).

It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of GeneralIgnacio Zaragoza Seguín.

Now, here comes something that I just can’t understand, in the US, Cinco de Mayo is generally mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day -which is indeed the most important national holiday in Mexico, celebrated on Selptember 16- but it is not. I can remember one american friend of mine telling me I didn’t seem to know my own traditions, after all how was it possible I didn’t celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day? (sic. refering to May the 5th). Truth be told, I’ve never been more shocked in my entire life.

Although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo, it is not a national holiday in Mexico but it is an official holiday in the state of Puebla, again, where the battle took place.

Btw, for all those of you who don’t know, Mexico lost against the french army just 12 days later.

Now, indulge me as I finish this post by telling you: most Mexicans we couldn’t care less about May the 5th.